In psychological terms, we project our desires and qualities onto our fellow people. In general, we are projecting our fears, ambitions and perception system onto the unknown. An assumption exists that the communication system of the outer space is similar to that of the Earth civilisation and it may be able to respond or to receive messages. This is how “our” civilisation understands the infinite.
The beginning of “Very Hopeful” was an information on the internet - the naively human scientific 1977 attempt by NASA to inform extra-terrestrial civilisations about achievements on the Earth by means of 'generally recognisable' images and sound recordings. Outside the solar system, this message can be received no sooner than in 40 000 years. On the home page of “Very Hopeful” this information is followed by a concluding comment of Carl Sagan that the project says something very hopeful about life on this planet.
“Very Hopeful” is an interactive, attractive hi-tech activity that synthesises the aggregate of image and sound carried by the Voyagers 1 and 2 in 1977 with a selection from the cultural signs of the 90s. The authors of the project are participants of the E-Lab (Electronic Art and Media Centre, Riga, - the artists Arvids Alksnis (conception), Peteris Kimelis (sound), Dzintars Licis (programming) and Martins Ratniks (animation). The original version of “Very Hopeful” (Cool Places, Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, 1998) consists of the project’s direct broadcasting on the internet, the material of the 70s, the re-make of the 90s for the projections of internet pages and the acoustic environment.
“Very Hopeful” transforms
the assertion of the 70s into a reversed question: Can
we say something very hopeful about life on this planet? In
the project, the conceptualised material of phenomenological perception
confronts the viewer with an ontological question.
In the context of the information technology age, “Very Hopeful” is a paraphrasing of the topicality, coding and semantics of information as well as the ability to read and interpret it. The project is a collaboration of conceptual, creative artists and also a meticulous selection and creation of visual, informational and sound material.
Just as the Beuys’ dialogue with the coyote did not result in a productive information exchange with the animal world, “Very Hopeful” most likely will fail to communicate with outer space civilisations. In both cases, of greater significance is the ritual role of the art object, which activates the viewer by offering him an opportunity to attempt extraordinary communication.